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BT says graduates unaware of AI industry potential

BT new HQ May 2022.jpg

A BT study has indicated a lack of awareness amongst UK students about the opportunity to pursue qualifications in AI related courses, as estimates reveal the industry will be worth £49 billion in 2022.

Where almost three in five (59%) of higher education students said they were unaware of AI courses at the time of choosing their course, over half (51%) said they would consider studies centred around AI in the future.

This was once they had understood and received more information about what the courses entail.

Harmeen Mehta, chief innovation and digital officer at BT, said: “Having graduated in AI more than two decades ago and lived through the AI winter, I am so excited to see how AI is changing the world and how we live.

“If you are someone who likes solving problems at scale, building platforms, passionate about data and AI and crave diversity of thought, a rich and diverse set of career opportunities are waiting for you."

The findings were revealed in BT’s AI skills: Motivation & AI careers myths debunked report which was commissioned in partnership with Yonder Consultancy in order to understand how to grow and retain AI talent in the UK.

The study also found that 38% of higher education students perceive a career in AI to be dull while 42% believe AI qualifications wouldn’t give them the career they are looking for.

As part of its commitment to AI, BT announced the launch of its digital campus, where it will make data and AI ‘key verticals’ as it looks to train and upskill current BT talent.

Attracting new talent has been a problem for the wider telecoms industry and Capacity recently caught up with Caroline Puygrenier, director of strategy and business at Interxion to discuss the topic.

She said that telecoms firms find it difficult to compete with the likes of Google and Amazon who come across as “funky and exciting to youngsters”.

She believes that while understanding the telecoms landscape can be seen as complicated, helping people to understand its importance would go a long way in attracting new talent.

“Streaming, gaming and other applications that are coming in the future like artificial intelligence and virtual reality – telecoms supports it all,” she said.

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